What To Know Today
Shootings rock two North Carolina high schools. A student died after a shooting at Mount Tabor High School in Winston-Salem on Wednesday afternoon triggered a lockdown and a massive police response. Students reported hearing multiple gunshots and frantically texted their parents to pick them up. The suspect, believed to be another student, is at large. Two days earlier, a student at New Hanover High School in Wilmington opened fire, wounding a classmate. The suspect was charged with attempted first-degree murder. A city councilmember said the shooting is a reflection of the “pervasiveness of guns in our society.”
There’s no mass exodus of police officers, data shows. The Marshall Project analyzed monthly data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and discovered that local police departments lost just under 1 percent of employees from 2019 to 2020, while the overall U.S. economy shed 6 percent of workers over the same period. That runs counter to a narrative, embraced by police across the country in the wake of last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, that low morale has hampered retention and recruitment. A criminologist explains that policing is a secure job, and few walk away casually: “If you quit, you don’t get your pension. Cops are human, too. They have a mortgage to pay.”
Chicago is diverting young men from gun violence through job training and therapy. The Rapid Employment and Development Initiative, or READI, offers 18 months of paid employment, job coaching, and cognitive behavioral therapy to men at highest risk of being victims and perpetrators of gun violence. More than 1,000 people have been offered the program’s resources since its 2017 launch, and men who attended at least one READI orientation in that time were 79 percent less likely to be arrested for a shooting or homicide, according to data from the nonprofit. From our archives: Last summer, Lakeidra Chavis chronicled the group’s struggle to secure consistent funding amid a pandemic-related gun violence surge.
Officers are calming people in crisis by connecting them to clinicians over Zoom. As more cities experiment with alternatives to traditional policing, Cook County, Illinois, has hit on an inexpensive solution with immediate results: sending officers into the field with tablets that connect people to trained therapists. One police sergeant tells the AP she’s stunned at how quickly the curbside therapy session pacified a man at the scene of a recent domestic disturbance. Sheriff Tom Dart said the cost of the department’s 70 tablets, priced at a couple hundred dollars each, was far less than what it would cost to deploy mental health professionals to certain 911 calls, which several other cities are now doing. “We wanted a tool for the officers to get that mental health expert on the scene immediately,” a spokesperson said.
Wisconsin’s concealed carry law linked to increased violence. The state allowed residents to carry concealed guns in public starting in 2011. In the subsequent seven years, Wisconsin’s gun homicide rate was 33 percent higher than the rate from the previous seven years, according to an analysis by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and FBI data by the Center for American Progress and the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort Educational Fund. The annual average of gun-related aggravated assaults rose by 56 percent. From 2011 through 2020, the state issued more than 700,000 concealed carry licenses.
Fatal shooting of Lyft driver may have been terrorism-inspired. Isabella Lewis was fatally shot shortly after picking up a fare in Garland, Texas, on Sunday. The suspect then allegedly drove her car to a police station and opened fire in the lobby, prompting officers to return fire, killing him. The FBI says the suspect left behind a letter suggesting that he “may have been inspired by a foreign terrorist organization,” but did not disclose any other details. The agency said the suspect was the focus of a counterterrorism investigation from 2010 to 2013, but he was ultimately not deemed to be a threat.
1.53 million — the estimated number of guns Americans bought last month, according to an analysis of FBI data. That’s down 23 percent from the previous August. [The Trace]